Jazz, Music History »

The Story of “Twisted,” a Jazz Bebop Vocal Classic

Posted October 5, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Wardell Gray was 28 when he wrote “Twisted,” and the bebop classic is still hip after all these years. He graduated from Cass Tech in Detroit which, like DuSable High in Chicago, was an incubator of young jazz talent. Arriving here during the late 1940s, he was one of the cool young hepcats in Los Angeles, gigging on Central Avenue with the likes of Dexter Gordon, …

African, Jazz, Music History »

Manu Dibango Chez Moi, 1995

Posted September 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa

The popular Cameroonian-born saxophonist, Manu Dibango, has always been a personal favorite. Traveling as a young man from his home town of Douala, Cameroon, to Paris, he discovered American jazz and fell in love.
His 1972 hit song, “Soul Makossa,” was discovered by DJ David Mancuso as a French import at a West Indian record store in Brooklyn and became a favorite at his loft parties. Soon, the song received enough air …

Audiophiles, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

New Vinyl Sales are Up, Up and Away…!

Posted September 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments

I am a vinyl junkie and have written about my habit before:
Also some seriously bad LP cover art…
I perked up when I saw this in the New York Times (there is a video after the ad, too).
Rusty old pressing plants are being bought up, refurbished after years of non-use and neglect, and still can’t keep up with demand for new vinyl pressings. Many independent labels …

Artist Spotlight, French, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #125: Musical Ambrosia, Part 1

Posted September 18, 2015 by | 1 Comment

Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods in Greek mythology. For me it’s a little more mundane: a fruit salad with mandarin oranges, pineapple, grapes, pecans, cherries, with a dash of whipped cream. I have added a splash of Cointreau to this beautiful mélange.
I heard the word in a different and incongruous way the other day, when I read an article in the …

Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

What I Learned From Oliver Sacks (1933–2015)

Posted September 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Oliver Sacks - Headphones

I was deeply saddened to learn that Oliver Sacks (b. 1933–2015) had succumbed to the cancer that he announced this past February. He was 82-years young.
The sheer number of obituaries penned over the past few days remembering this gifted author and neurologist for his immense contribution to the field made me recall how differently I learned to understand the situations of people suffering with neurological …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History »

Izzy Sanabria: Latin Music’s Renaissance Man

Posted August 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Izzy Sanabria - headshot

I recently dropped some dough on a vintage mono LP (used) by the Alegre All-Stars called Way Out (Vol. 4). They spawned the immortal mambo DNA of groups like Tico All-Stars, Cesta All-Stars, and the final incarnation, the Fania All-Stars. The band changed its name every time the core group recorded for new labels (i.e. Tico, Alegre, Cesta, Fania). The LP I just bought was released …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History »

Satchmo, Nixon and the Hidden Stash

Posted July 22, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Satchmo & Nixon 2

Some of you Rhythm Planet fans may recall my previous about Richard Nixon as an unwitting ‘mule’ for Louis Armstrong’s hidden stash, but I’ve just unearthed yet another version of this funny bit of jazz history that I just had to share.
By now, there are probably as many versions of this story—it’s too good to be apocryphal—as there are versions of the New Testament books in the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #115: That Timeless Gil Evans Sound

Posted July 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Gil Evans - 500

Just like Miles Davis, Gil Evans’s timeless arrangements charted the course of jazz during the 20th century, influencing big bands to bebop to cool and beyond.
Ian Ernest Gilmore (Gil) Evans was born May 13, 1912 in Toronto. His family moved to Stockton, California, during his youth, where he was raised until relocating to New York in his twenties. The early part of his career …

Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #114: The Spiritual Jazz Legacy of John Coltrane and His Followers

Posted July 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Kamasi Washington - The Epic 2

The Epic, a new 3-disk set by saxophonist Kamasi Washington has just been released on Brainfeeder Records. It’s of the same Spiritual Jazz musical DNA as John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Meditations, Ascension, Cosmic Music, Sun Ship, and his other classics.
Jazz titans like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane all broke down music barriers. Ornette Coleman may have deconstructed music, but Coltrane stands apart …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, RIP »

RIP: Fernando Brant, Lyricist for Milton Nascimento

Posted June 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 22.28.07

Música Popular Brasileira or MPB, a popular song form that followed bossa nova in the 1960s, often paired singers with poets and lyricists. Vinicius de Moraes penned lyrics for Antônio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell. Vítor Martins for Ivan Lins. Aldir Blanc for João Bosco and others. We’ve seen similar musical partnerships here in the U.S. between George and Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Ira …

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